Tuesday, March 25, 2008

What Shapes a Writer?

Many writers write to inform and serve society well. Others do not. There's a vast amount of misinformation out there and we've suffered a fair share of historians that mislead or rewrote the truth. It would not be unreasonable to want to question the slant of ancient writings; along with anything written up to the 21st century. Strong and oft-times biased convictions shaped their words, as did interpretations made by unfamiliar tongues. But that's a whole other topic of discussion; with many implications.

The following questions and comments posed here focus on the imaginative, creative writer. Though I can truly speak only for myself, I believe what one experiences in life--one's needs, desires, or the lack thereof--shapes the words and dialogs of those who feel so inclined to capture and share them. But what drives the desire to share them? What shapes the minds of those who create breathtaking, yet imaginary vistas and/or faraway worlds?

My thoughts are shaped by my experiences, or again, the lack thereof. I'm shaped first how I grew up in the family dynamic. This is where we're told what to do or better believe. I'm shaped secondly by what I chose to read and decided to believe. Though my larger work-in-progress involves time displacement, others worlds, dimensions, and that which cannot be seen by the physical three dimensional human eye, it also offers my perspective on life; as we know or understand it to be.

It's based on peoples' endless questions, throughout equally endless time, of where do we come from and where do we go after death? Who am I? Who is God? Is God dead? Is there life on other planets or are we alone? Does the Big Bang Theory really explain it all? How did the dinosaurs really die? These are just the questions off the top of my head. I remember there being more, but-- I wondered simply whether we're asking the wrong questions. I believe the real question should be, why don't we know?

With all that posed, why am I so inclined to write it all down? And what even constitutes a writer? Is it merely putting pen to page or fingers to a keyboard? Does keeping a diary or journal make one a writer. That may well depend on the contents, and whether the owner intends them for eyes other than their own. I would argue that shopping lists don't count.
Does it require a concerted effort to capture and organize one's thoughts in order to share a story, regardless whether it's ever published? It is solely a desire to see oneself published? If there's a novel or screenplay in the works, then I'd say there's a writer behind it the effort.

The rule of thumb seems to be: anyone who writes is a writer. But he or she cannot claim to author until their work is either published or read by other people. I believe what's most important to consider is whether any given individual views themselves as a writer. And what ultimately shapes a writer, is the discovery of self, and a little to do with the want of being heard.
As for me? I remember a point, sometime while or after reading The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, Earthsea Trilogy, the Dragonriders of Pern, and the Foundation series, when I said to myself, "I can do this!"

I bought a package of notebook paper and began to shape my thoughts; all written by hand. Varton is the main character. But when I couldn't figure out, after going into a land from whence no one ever returned, how he would communicate with those left behind, I boxed up all the files an literally put it on a shelf. Though I have since figured it out, I moved on and have spent years fleshing out my Forbidden World Chronicles; a storyline some might think consumes me.

They're wrong. It merely lives in and to some degree, has helped to shape me.

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